Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Carjacking leads to more YSU police patrols
One man is accused of a robbery and a carjacking in a space of 90 minutes.
By HAROLD GWIN
YOUNGSTOWN Youngstown State University police officers will step up the frequency of their patrols in the Courtyard Apartments area in the wake of a carjacking there.
Police Chief John J. Gocala said an officer is already assigned to specifically patrol the outside of the apartment complex overnight but wasn't on duty at the time of the carjacking around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
Gocala said the university always has extra officers on duty during the afternoon and evening hours as a normal security measure for campus events and activities.
Those officers will step up the frequency of their patrols in the Courtyard Apartments area, he said, noting a patrol passes through that area every 15 to 20 minutes now unless officers are on a call.
Gocala said there are usually few problems at Courtyard Apartments, which are part of the YSU campus but are owned and maintained by a private corporation.
There was a car stolen there not long ago and a few calls occasionally about loud parties, but that's been the extent of any recent police action there, he said.
Gocala said the man accused in the carjacking, Willie Lee Davis, 38, who gave police addresses on both Bennington and Stewart avenues, is also suspected of an earlier gunpoint robbery at Elm Street and Madison Avenue.
City police said Davis is charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, fleeing and eluding, falsification of identification, possession of a drug abuse instrument and assault on a police officer.
He also has outstanding warrants for parole violations in abduction and burglary cases as well as a warrant for receiving stolen property, police said.
In the first robbery, Davis is accused of approaching a female YSU student in a parking lot at Elm and Madison around 8:50 p.m. as she was getting into her car.
The victim said he pointed a gun at her, told her to start the vehicle and then move over to the passenger seat.
As she moved over, the car, which has a manual transmission, stalled, she told police.
Davis got into the driver's side but apparently was unable to drive a manual transmission; so he just demanded money, police said. He took the victim's purse containing $25 and fled on foot.
He showed up outside Courtyard Apartments about 90 minutes later, taking a car from a female student at gunpoint. There were at least two witnesses to the carjacking, police said.
Minutes later, a city police officer responding to the call spotted the car on Albert Street and began a pursuit that ended when Davis and a woman with him abandoned the car on Kimmel Street.
Police said the officer chased Davis into a wooded area where Davis grabbed him and began fighting with him before the officer was able to subdue him.
Police said they found a black plastic toy gun in Davis' pants pocket as well as a crack pipe and someone else's identification in his wallet. He also gave officers a phony name, police said.
Davis spent Sunday night and Monday in the Mahoning County Jail and faced arraignment today. The woman with him in the stolen car eluded capture, police said.